June 21, 2024
  • On Friday, the Dutch government revealed that they’re planning to stop using Facebook pages to communicate with people due to privacy concerns.
  • Meta has until the end of the summer recess to find a solution or risk losing its business with the government.
  • Meta is not happy with thi4s news and has promised to work together with the government to come up with a mutual solution.

Dutch Government to Stop Using Facebook Pages over Privacy Concerns

On behalf of the Dutch government, junior home affairs minister Alexandra van Huffelen announced that they might stop using Facebook over privacy concerns.

The home ministry has stopped posting on Facebook since the announcement—although other ministries continue to use their respective Facebook pages.

The decision comes after the Dutch Data Protection Authority (DPA) asked the Dutch interior ministry to not rely on its Facebook pages to communicate with the people unless it knows how Facebook uses personal data of people who visit those pages.

In simple terms, the Dutch government doesn’t know whether Meta takes permission to process data properly. In case it doesn’t, it’s in clear violation of the rules.

Read all about Meta’s alleged data processing business that violates the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

The issue dates back to last year when Van Huffelen asked the Dutch DPA for suggestions on how to proceed with Facebook after the company refused to change the way it handles user data. That’s when the DPA started researching the social media giant—and has now arrived at this decision.

This is a long-running issue. Back when the DPA was first involved, the government had already been in talks with Facebook for around a year yet no concrete solution was reached.

So, now the government has asked Meta to clarify how it plans to address the issue. The company has to get back to the ministry with an action plan as soon as possible—at the latest before the summer recess.

🛑If Meta fails to do so, the Dutch government will go along with the DPA’s directive and shut down their Facebook pages for good.

Read more: Turkey bans Meta Threads

The Dutch DPA wants to retain the trust of the people in the government. In a statement, Dutch DPA’s chairman, Aleid Wolfsen, said the citizens who visit a government page put their trust in them.

The Dutch citizens believe that their personal information is in safe hands. So, it’s the government’s responsibility to live up to that trust.

Plus, a lot of the Dutch people’s data might also involve information about children and young individuals who are a lot more vulnerable. Hence, the government wants to be absolutely certain that they get all the protection they need from online perpetrators.

Read more about how Meta had to reinforce safety measures for teens because of mounting regulatory pressure.

‘We fundamentally disagree with the assessment that underpins this advice, which is wrong on the facts and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding as to how our products work.’ – Meta spokesperson

Meta is clearly unhappy with the turn of events in the Netherlands. The Meta spokesperson further added that all Meta products go through detailed evaluation to ensure they are in compliance with the local laws.

As for the issue at hand, Meta has decided to cooperate with the Dutch government and come to a mutual fix so that they can continue to use their Facebook pages.

As Matthew Holman from law firm Cripps rightly pointed out, the latest notice by the Dutch DPA is another proof of the “growing distance” between Meta and EU regulators.

Since last year, the company has landed itself in several privacy violation allegations, and in quite a good number of those cases, the allegations turned out to be true.

For example, a Dutch court in 2023 ruled that Facebook had violated data processing laws by using user data for advertising purposes with no legal basis. Plus, it even shared the data with third parties—again, without any legal ground.

Not only that, none of the users were even informed that this is how their data would be used. Worst of all, even the data of those friends on Facebook with the users whose Facebook data was targeted were forwarded to other companies.

In other news: Court document reveals that Facebook was spying on Snapchat’s traffic & EU tightens grip on porn sites with stricter rules.

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